7 °CSun, 09

'There's nowhere in the world that could have looked after us better than the Hospice did last Christmas', says Trillick mum

The mother of a Trillick boy who lives with a rare neurodegenerative condition is encouraging local businesses, clubs, school and other organisations to get behind their ‘Jingle All the Way’ Christmas fundraising campaign.

Eight-year-old Andrew McFarland suffers from a variant form of late infantile Batten disease (CLN5), which causes blindness, complex epilepsy and the loss of mobility and the ability to communicate.

In December 2017, Andrew was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where his condition greatly deteriorated. It was then suggested that the family spend Christmas at the Children's Hospice, where they could spend quality time together as a family.

Treated so well by the carers during their ‘extraordinary week’, Andrew’s family want to raise money for the Hospice, so that other families who find themselves in a similar situation can avail of the brilliant service.

Speaking about their experience of Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Andrew’s mother, Joanne, said: “We took Andrew over to the Hospice in Newtownabbey on Thursday, December 21. I can tell you now, there’s nowhere in the world that could have looked after us better than the Hospice did. The nurses worked extra shifts, taking time from their own Christmas, so that Andrew always had a trained nurse with him – day and night.

“The housekeeping and catering staff came in too. I didn’t have to as much as make a cup of tea the whole week we were there. The team made sure that we had everything we needed so we could just concentrate on spending the time with both of our children. It took incredible generosity and real commitment from so many wonderful people to make that possible."

Full story in this week's Tyrone Constitution.

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